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Don’t Let the Holiday Season Weigh You Down

Another holiday season has arrived. For many of us this means more calories, less time to work out and an overwhelming amount of stress. With all of the holiday parties, family gatherings, and co-workers bringing us treats, it seems almost impossible to maintain or lose any amount of weight.

Why is it that people are so worried about what they eat between Thanksgiving and the New Year? Shouldn’t they be more concerned with what they eat between the New Year and Thanksgiving?

Here we sit post-holiday meal, slumped in our chair, scratching our head, looking for an answer or solution to our dilemma. We want to blame someone or something for our lack of self-control, but what we really need to do is take a good look at the person staring back at us in the mirror.

All too often there appears to be a lack of emphasis on an individual’s personal responsibility to make healthy food choices and stay physically active. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the sensible way to lose weight is to eat less and move more.

It’s time to put down that glass of eggnog, grab that chocolate Santa out of your spouse’s mouth, and say no to that last Christmas cookie. We need to take responsibility for what we’re putting in our mouths and what we’re doing to our bodies.

Since most of us are already struggling with our weight and the will to exercise regularly, this is something we just can’t sweep under the rug. Yes, it’s true that exercise can be hard to fit into a busy schedule, but if we want to reach our goals and lead a healthier lifestyle, it’s a must.

Don’t let the holiday season weigh you down. Here are a few ways to keep your weight under control this holiday season:

  • Never go to a party hungry! This is a recipe for disaster, especially when you have little or no willpower.
  • Don’t skip meals. Eat your normal meals at their regular scheduled times. You will be less likely to overeat if you keep yourself satisfied throughout the day.
  • Go easy on dips, chips, sauces, and desserts. These food items can be deceptivel high in calories and fat. Instead, concentrate on fresh fruits, veggies, and lean meats.
  • Stay away from the buffet table. It’s never a good idea to have all that food in front of you when you are having a hard time making healthy food choices as it is.
  • Go easy on the alcohol. Sorry guys, but alcohol can increase your appetite and lower your resolve to resist overeating. In addition, many holiday drinks have as many or  more calories than a dessert. Try to limit yourself to one alcoholic beverage per occasion.
  • Move! Here’s a fact for you. Thinking about working out burns between zero and zero calories. Even if you only have the time to fit in twenty minutes a day, it’s better than doing nothing at all. Take a walk, hit the gym, park at the opposite end of the mall, or use the stairs instead of the escalator. You could also blow the dust off that recum bent bike you’ve shoved in the corner and use it!
  • Stay active to reduce stress. Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce the stress associated with the holidays. Stress can be a huge trigger for people with little or no self-control. Go sledding with the kids, build a snowman, ski, or have a snowball fight.
  • Have just one. It’s fine to be excited about that freshly baked pumpkin pie, but limit yourself to just one slice. If one is not in your vocabulary don’t have any.
  • Just say NO. Say no to the doggie bag. Taking home table scraps will only encourage late night snacking.
  • Slow down. It takes your body about twenty minutes to realize that you are full, and you can eat a lot of extra food in those few minutes. The slower you eat the less food you’ll consume.
  • Stay conscious. Be aware of what you’re eating. It’s easy to get carried away when you are in the company of friends and family. Push yourself away from the table and take a minute to check in with your bodies’ satiety level. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat.
  • Get back on schedule. One bad day of eating won’t ruin your weight loss plan. Recognize that you’ve made a few mistakes and get back on track as soon as possible. Life will always give you another chance. It’s called tomorrow.
  • Don’t Quit. In the words of Joe Duncan (one of my favorite quotes): “If you’re going to quit anything, quit being lazy, quit making excuses, and quit waiting for the right time.”

In Conclusion:

Our sedentary lifestyles and poor ‘convenient’ diets are the real issue when it comes to our battle against weight gain. If we as a nation want to improve our health and extend our lives, we must do what we have always known we should do; make healthy food choices, eat less, and exercise more. Above all, we must stop looking for someone else to take responsibility for our own lack of self-discipline!

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy family, friends, and food this holiday season. It’s your day-to-day habits that will have the biggest impact on your weight loss efforts, not what you do once in a while. So enjoy the holidays. Yes, even the food. Good luck to you and happy holidays!

Jennifer Nastasi Guzelak
I have been a personal trainer for over seventeen years and I absolutely love what I do. I honestly feel that I have one of the best jobs out there! The most rewarding part of my profession is helping one of my clients succeed at reaching their personal fitness goals. Making a difference in someone’s life makes it all worthwhile. I am currently certified by the National Sports Conditioning Association, Apex Fitness Group, and the International Sports Science Association.